The Engel lab is interested in basic aspects of the infectious cycle of mammal viruses to engineer new powerful vectors to study the brain.
Recombinant viruses are used to determine neural connectivity and function in living animal models. They are also used as gene therapy and oncolytic vectors to treat inherited and acquired diseases in humans. We study how viruses infect, replicate and spread in the host nervous system in an effort to overcome some of their current limitations as tools for neuroscience research.
We specialize in engineering several viral species including adeno-associated virus (AAV), herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1), pseudorabies virus (PRV), rabies virus (RABV), and retroviruses.
We are working to develop non-cytotoxic recombinant viruses with selective tissue tropism, inducible transgene expression, very large cloning capacity, and accurate control of replication and spread that will allow a deeper and more precise understanding of the nervous system.